Updated Bio – Author: Michael Anthony

I recently updated my bio on the blog, features a bit more detail on what I’ve been up to if you’re interested:

Michael Anthony is the author of the acclaimed and award-winning memoirs Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir and Mass Casualties: A Young Medic’s True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq.

Michael’s writing has been described as: “strong … and starkly honest…”–Publisher’s Weekly, “Dark Humored,” –Kirkus, “smart and mordantly funny,” –Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,and “gut punching…” –Mary Roach. He has appeared in several anthologies, for both poetry and non-fiction, and has written for The Washington Post, Business Insider, Signature-Reads, and The Good Men Project, where he served for a year as chief editor of the War & Veterans section. Pieces of his writing were featured in the VetSpeaks Moss Hart Memorial award-winning theater production, and he served as a military consultant for Krzysztof Wodiczko’s International Association of Art Critic’s award-winning art installation Out of Here: The Veterans Project.

He has been featured in several documentaries regarding military service, philosophy, and comedy, including the Gold Remi award-winning documentary Aside from That… (and he even had a short stint on a TV show for the Weather Channel).

A graduate of Bridgewater State University, Michael also holds an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. A former US army soldier, he currently lives with his wife in Massachusetts and spends his free time working with veterans.

Michael is also a highly sought after guest lecturer and public speaker.

Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir

dark humored military memoir“An intense memoir.” -Kirkus

“A must read.” -Colby Buzzell

“Anthony delivers a dose of reality that can awaken the mind…” Bookreporter

Order your copy of Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir .

Politics / News, Politics / News, ptsd, Self Improvement / Healthy Living, Uncategorized

Is PTSD Genetic? Can PTSD be passed onto my children?

ptsd uncle sam recruitment poster ptsdIs PTSD Genetic?

Can PTSD be passed onto my children?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric ailment that affects many people around the world. This stress disorder can affect anyone and it is typically caused by uncontrollable or unpredictable traumatic events. In most cases, PTSD symptoms appear after several days or hours of certain event. However, there are times that it takes up to few months or weeks for the symptoms to manifest themselves. Common PTSD’s causes may be because of sudden death of loved ones, assault, car or plane crashes, rape, war, natural disasters, kidnap, childhood neglect, physical abuse and other traumatic events.

“Avoiding being reminded of the event, including becoming detached from friends and becoming emotionally withdrawn, is another sign of PTSD.”

But can we tell just by taking a simple blood test if we are predisposed genetically to PTSD? This question has been the biggest issue internationally. International researchers have found a genetic marker that is linked to PSTD in the blood samples of the conflict zone based Marines. This team of researchers is studying to figure out who is more resilient to PTSD, and who is more at risk for PTSD.

Women are more likely to develop this stress disorder than men. Signs tend to cluster into three main areas. One is when a person relives the event through vivid images and nightmares together with an extreme reaction like heart palpitations, uncontrollable shaking and chills. Avoiding being reminded of the event, including becoming detached from friends and becoming emotionally withdrawn, is another sign of PTSD. The last main signs of this disorder are when a person is hyper aroused, irritable, startled easily, and/or has difficulty concentrating and trouble sleeping.

The idea that your genes play a role in whether you develop this stress disorder has been a famous focus of frequent research. Scientists have actually discovered, in mice, the genes that regulate fear. The lack of a brain chemical that is regulating the fear (which is called peptide that releases gastrin), led to fear response that is greater among rodents. In another study, mice that do not have a protein that is necessary to form the so called “fear memories”, have less tendency of freezing up and willing to explore unfamiliar spaces (think of the cartoon Tom and Jerry, and how Jerry (the mouse) wasn’t afraid of Tom the cat. This could have, realistically, been because Jerry lacked a certain protein in his brain that would’ve told him to be afraid of Tom). This is important to note because many people believe that PTSD is an unnatural response, but PTSD can often be a natural response to a somewhat unnatural situation. The brain is almost wired to respond in such a way.

“It’s been said that a single person with PTSD infects/affects/effects up to seven individuals with symptoms.”

There are also studies on twins which show that heredity is accounting for about 30 percent of the differences responding to trauma. Identical twins are much more likely to develop this stress disorder than the fraternal twins. Another research has looked into the role of inherited mental disorders, brain differences or tendencies of addiction.

An unusual research avenue is the contribution of our immune systems to the development of the symptoms of PTSD or if it has also a big role in this development. Prior studies showed that people who have been diagnosed with PTSD as compared to individuals without PTSD suggest that their differences in their genes in relation to inflammation, plays a role.

Therefore, there is a tendency that PTSD can be acquired genetically, however, there is no positive result as researchers are still going on progress of having some clues as to what may predict resilience and risk.

One thing to keep in mind about PTSD, is that even though it may or may not be genetic, a father or mother can still pass on PTSD to their children, and loved ones, through proximity. It’s been said that a single person with PTSD infects/affects/effects up to seven individuals with symptoms. Think of it as the flu. A father gets sick with the flu: he’s lethargic, has a fever, diarrhea, and he’s nauseous. Several days pass and the father’s son gets sick. The son has all the same symptoms as his father, he’s lethargic, nauseous, has diarrhea, etc. Then, the next thing you know, the sister gets sick, the mother, and the whole house is laid up in bed. Now, take that same scenario and imagine a man with PTSD. He’s irritable, short-tempered, has trouble sleeping, is anxious, and is emotionally withdrawn. How long do you think it’ll be before his short-temper and irritability is passed along to his wife and children?

In a sense, it’s the old nature vs nurture debate. Are we predisposed to PTSD or brought up into it?

Picture: Flickr/Ilona Meagher

Best Of, Blogishness, Self Improvement / Healthy Living

How To Successfully Market An Unforgettable War Memoir

Due to the notoriety of the two most recent and controversial wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the consumer market has become a fertile ground for war memoirs. Readers have a strong interest in the military and an effective marketing campaign is a guaranteed way to generate sympathy and curiosity about heroic veterans. Marketing, advertising and publicity are essential to building an audience.

The Media as a Marketing Tool

Using a variety of media outlets increases your opportunity to reach your targeted market. The internet, television, print and radio are all effective ways to spread the word of your war memoir. Diversification of the way in which you advertise to your readers is the modern approach to public relations.

Start with the internet because it is ubiquitous and cost-effective. Create a website devoted to your book. Include links to the veteran’s biography. Add a blog and post video clips that relate to your memoir. Also consider creating a profile on popular social media websites and invite friends to connect to your profile.

Television is another prosperous opportunity to advertise your book. Make a commercial and send it to the major networks as well as cable television stations. Make appearances on talk shows and local news broadcasts because celebrity endorsements and favorable interest from the media are the best ways to sell your book.

Print media is a great means of communication because it reaches a large community of readers. Many consumers still purchase and subscribe to magazines or newspapers. Place advertisements in several popular publications or hire a writer to review your war memoir. Meet with journalists who will interview you and write about your experiences.

The radio reaches a wide audience and is heard by millions of people on a daily basis. This is an essential tool for communicating to the general public. For example, morning talk show hosts often interview a variety of guests and the chance to be a part of this broadcast is a golden opportunity. Also consider creating your own radio commercial and air it on a popular show.

The Power of Networking

Meet with local bookstore owners and ask to hold a reading. Offer to sign copies of your war memoir and answer questions about being a veteran. Talk to your readers and ask them what attracted them to your book. Use what they tell you to your advantage and apply it to other situations. Additional opportunities to network include visiting colleges and universities. Ask school administrators if there is a possibility of speaking to students about your book in an auditorium or before individual classes.

Successfully Marketing Your War Memoir

Use a wide range of media outlets in addition to networking to market your war memoir. Readers are interested in your experiences in the military and there is a lot of support for veterans who fought in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Advertising and good public relations are essential to generating goodwill and positive feedback on your book. Now is a great time to take advantage of the rare opportunity ahead of you.